THE BEST WORST SHOW: Philly 12/17
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 1995 21:08:27 GMT
From: sadiejane (sadiejane@CYBERCOM.NET)
Subject: THE BEST WORST SHOW: Philly 12/17 (long)
The Best Worst Show - 12/17/95 The Electric Factory, Philly, PA
sadie disclaimer 1: if you think I m describing you in the following
account of the philly show you may just be right and you may just
wanna flame me. Go ahead. I m asking for it (as usual).
sadie disclaimer 2: lots of digressions ahead - BEWARE. don t say I
didn t warn ya.
Why go? After the thrill of my life - handing bob a Sun Studio's
guitar pick at the end of the boston run and watching him as he checks
it out, then goes to his stand shuffling through for something....
returning to the edge of the stage and then with a big smile, holding
out his cupped hand for me - with a pick in it. Nothing could top
those magical boston shows - the first Dark Eyes live since Australia?
Awwwww....it was a last minute, why the hell not sort of impulse that
led Pete (my official RMD fiancee YOU READ IT HERE FIRST whom I met on
the newsgroup and lured to Boston from his safe home in the New South
Whales bush) and I to charge those general admission tickets thru
ticketscheister and then white-knuckle drive from Boston to Philly
after my concert of classical christmas muzak at the First Parish
Church in Milton.
It was noon and the snow had finally stopped.
We figured we'd make it to philly in time to get in line for not so
far back spots in that huge venue (seats 3500 standing), The Electric
Factory. Besides this - my mom connected me with a friend of hers who
offered to put us up on south street - blocks away from the TLA
theater where bob had played last time he was in town....a good omen.
...back to the white-knuckle drive which I executed with the fury of a
true boston driver at highest possible speed my 65 dart would allow
(about 75mph). Driving conditions were ok - and besides - i have snow
We got there at approximately 6:45pm.
We got in line (wrapping by then around the corner of the building).
We made contact with one of my favorite rmd er pals jfryblair who I
had spoke to via the telephone for the very first time ever just a few
nights before. He said he would be at the front of the line.
Jfry!!!! I screamed shamelessly at the top of my lungs until I see a
man swinging like tarzan from the bannister at the top of the steps
leading to the entrance doors... SADIE!!!!
He told me that an rmd'er (who shall remain nameless) held spots the
night before at the front of the line for a group of friends who
arrived fashionably late. This was not cool. In other words - Pete
and I would have to be good little doobies and wait our turn in line -
no jumping to the front. jfry did give me a tip, "as soon as you get
in, go to the far left wall and up to the front". ok.
So, we wait in line, as soon as the doors open at 7:30 Pete takes our
coats to the car and we shiver our way to the entrance. I just loved
being frisked by a sturdy looking bouncer...don't you?
Once in, we walked "DO NOT RUN OR YOU WILL BE REMOVED FROM THE
THEATER" to the far left front and shimmied our way as close to jfry
as we could. As soon as pete and i established our places amidst the
seated and standing faithful (it seems the thing to do in a general
admission show is to run to the front of the stage and then to sit
down as close as possible - a veritable sit-in - and stay seated until
all your friends find you and the lights begin to go down - which is
when you stand and then the entire group of sitters and standers who
have collected around you shift into a new, better, tighter, mass of
sweaty, tense, stoned, fustrated fans.
Patti - what can I say...she has stepped out of a musical time
machine. All the intensity and ferocity and even some of that
post-adolescent "menage a une" still intact. I prefer her poetry to
her music - I think there is more range there emotionally and more
interesting detail. Her band was tight as a drum as far as I could
tell - the only song that really bugged me is the one that some guy
"Oliver" wrote. She brings him out - says he wrote the song -
proceeds to do the song with him sitting there playing rhythm. Nice
of her to bring him out - but the song is like a menacing drone and
oliver's rhythm playing is ok but not really that special so....
back to the frustrated crowd.
Jfry got squeezed out of his front row position by his neighbor having
had the misfortune of grabbing a spot between two friends whose
fraternal love obviously exceeded all bounds. It was only fair and
reasonable that they should be standing side by side, arms locked. No
room for Jfry. Then their female companions managed to squeeze him
out of the second row. At this point I tried to interfere (mistake)
and a cat fight between myself and two of them almost started. I
succeeded in establishing myself as a serious second row presence and
then gave my spot to jfry (who had after all - waited in the front of
the line all day). The ladies then squeezed him back to third row yet
again. At this point I gave up trying to defend his place and stuck
to keeping myself in the second row - with Pete comfortably standing
directly behind me. I should never be allowed to go to general
admission shows...it's the boston driver in me. I just pretend I m in
my Dart at the Fresh Pond Circle....works every time. All the while,
between blows (verbal assaults back and forth between the first row
and myself), we were also debating the finer points of bob - the old
"GE Smith vs. JJ" controversy, etc. Jfry shared his water with Pete
and I. Someone squeezed by and exclaimed "so you're sadie, I heard
you were a man."
Finally bob started. Wearing his red velvet smoking jacket and a black
tee. Looking fine but....
SOUNDING LIKE SHIT!
I thought at first that he had had one drop too many of the old
kentucky - except that he wasn't slurring his words. His intonation
on bended string was not the usual - just close enough to be on the
mark sort of leading tones - but really flat, leading nowhere tones.
hmmmm. Basically he looked and sounded tired and disinterested.
Bored. He sang ok - clear - no messed up words. BUT whenever it was
his turn to take a solo on the guitar he would play a few listless
notes and then DROP OUT entirely. STOP PLAYING. He must have done
this at least half a dozen times. I yelled up to JJ "pick it up!"
And JJ appeared to be working hard to cover for his boss - but not
hard enough to actually make bob look good. I wondered if JJ was
doing this on purpose. Maybe he was tired too.
crash,senor,watchtower all listless.
During every grain (one of my all time fav's which I cover regularly
when I play out) I turned my back to the band (never done that before)
and slow danced with pete. nice song for slow dancing.
pill box hat, silvio- both wretched - bob just didn't want to play.
Finally the acoustic set.
Tangled up - interesting - this (if my memory serves me) song bob
played first position A and JJ played with a capo on fret 2 - G
positions. Bob's guitar seemed to be coming to life. BUT he played a
wretched harp solo. Yuk.
suddenly the guitar was there - details and stirring melodic lines.
He spoke the last verse, enunciating those lines venomously "When you
asked how I was doing was that some kind of joke?" - the crowd went
Next came a lyrical baby blue - I began to think that whatever drugs
bob was on at the start of the show were finally beginning to wear
Then Patti came out for Dark eyes. She had changed out of her jeans
and was wearing a prim black velvet dress with long sleeves and a
white lace collar. I suddenly pictured her as the girl who never got
to be the angel in the school play. Passed over year after year for
the pretty blond with the baby blue eyes and the sacharine smile. She
looked tragically sweet in the dress. Bob was (as I had seen him for
each time that he sang with patti in Boston) the perfect supporting
partner. His harmonies were smooth and the texture of his voice
modified to blend with hers. At the very end he signalled for her to
sing the refrain one more time - adding a coda which perfectly
finished this last edition of the song which he had brought out
specially for her. The crowd cheered for patti - she skipped off into
the dark wings and bob launched into maggie's farm.
The last number was a beautiful electric she belongs to me. Bucky's
sensuous pedal steel, bob's lyrical electric solos finally singing
out. The show was really just beginning I thought. Little did I
At some point at the end of the show the front row all threw Hanukah
gelt up at bob and the band. "silver and gold" someone shouted out.
JJ leaned down and peeled the foil off of one piece and ate it. Go
for it JJ. It's those simple pleasures in life...
The first encore:
a searing West LA Fadeaway - taught, red-necked blues. Bob at his
raunchiest, diviest, wildest best.
THEN Patti came back out for Knockin' on Heaven's Door. WOW. She
was doing her own thing - didn't seem so sure of the words - sang the
refrains with bob - that is to say - she sang with him on them - but
didn't actually sing the words he was singing. She was ranting and
chanting some other lyric all the while he (and JJ) were doin' the
"Knock knock knockin'" thing. Bob was amused and slightly puzzled.
At one point she stroked his face and he broke into a smile -
SHE WAS CRACKIN' HIM UP!!!
She was dancing circles around him - making him laugh at odd moments.
He liked it. The first real spontaneous moment of the evening. None
of that: just one more show on the never ending never never tour.
Thanks patti. thanks for making bob's day. It got progressively
playful - this sad song turned into a game. How would it end? The
refrain over and over and finally Patti - tired of guessing - walked
offstage and left bob alone with his band. He continued to repeat the
refrain, throwing in savage little guitar licks and improvising the
lyrics: One too many times before Just gonna be one time more
stuff like this.
2 encores and bob didn't appear to be leaving the stage. He steps up
to the mic - and introduced a special guest "Cesar Diaz" who comes out
with shades, fedora, vest and jeans and proceeds to jam with bob and
jj on Rainy day. The crowd all know and love Cesar, dylan's former
guitar tech/sometimes lead guitarist. Cesar left the band when JJ got
hired. There was some bad blood there - bob replaced all his "Diaz"
amps (Cezar's sideline) when he left. It was nice to see Cesar
tearing it up. And it inspired bob to do some of the best guitar
playing of the evening - loving every minute of it - picking up
Cesar's gauntlet thrown down - playing to the crowd for the first time
(he virtually ignored us the entire evening), styling and showboating
at every opportunity.
The show was finally over. After a fond farewell hug from jfry, Pete
and I stumbled out into the chilly night. Back to Dottie who had less
than an 1/8th of a tank left to get us to south street. We passed a
charming little 2 door 61 falcon as we were leaving the lot. I had a
turkey club at the all night diner on south street. The end of bob's
tour also marking the end of Pete's 3rd visit from australia. He'll
be back before bob strikes up the band again this spring. not to
Delia ain't dead, she's been pick'd up